|The Little Magazine|
In India, like elsewhere in the world, the function of media has changed dramatically — or perhaps catastrophically — in the last ten years. Newspapers and magazines, once independent witnesses, are now mere conduits for the single, approved and flawlessly inflected voice booming from the apex of the pyramid of power. Meanwhile, the reality which they had originally set out to depict is being covered far better in other media, in languages other than English. It is available in fiction, theatre, film, essays, poetry and documentary. These are forms that the mainstream, in its search for the guaranteed watertight business plan, has taught itself to shun. In the absence of a culture of translation, it has also not been available to the rest of the world. And so there was a need — though usually unfelt — for an independent publication which could offer this material in a world language.
In 2000, we took a deep breath and stepped into the breach. A couple of us quit nice, paying jobs and the magazine was out in May 2000, funded completely by personal savings. It was a quiet launch, though writers of the order of Noam Chomsky, Amartya Sen, Ashis Nandy and Martha Nussbaum were kind enough to write in order to support the venture.
In the first year of publication, we took a conscious decision neither to solicit advertising nor to do any publicity. The former because we wanted the bimonthly magazine to evolve its identity without pressure from advertisers; the latter because we set more store by personal endorsements and word-of-mouth publicity. We have not been disappointed. TLM now enjoys influence and readership totally out of proportion with its circulation figures. There has also been significant media attention — which was unsolicited, we might add. And our ordinary subscribers, most of whom we have never met, remain our most committed marketing executives.
Antara Dev Sen was Senior Editor with The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, when she went to Oxford as a Fellow with the Reuter Foundation. She started TLM when she returned to India and is its Editor. Earlier she has worked with the Anand Bazaar Patrika Group in Calcutta and with The Indian Express in Delhi, where she was Senior Assistant Editor. She is a columnist with the newspapers Asian Age, The Deccan Chronicle and DNA and earlier wrote columns for The Week and Sify.com, among other publications.
Pratik Kanjilal was Chief Operating Officer of Indian Express Online Media before he joined the magazine as co-editor and publisher. Earlier, he was a leader writer and Senior Assistant Editor of The Indian Express. He has also worked with The Economic Times and Business Standard. He has received the first New York University Prize for Hyperfiction (1998) and the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize (2005). He is a columnist with Time Out, New Delhi, Hindustan Times and Free Press Journal.
Board of Advisors:
Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor of Ethics and Economics, Harvard University, USA. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1998.
Godfrey Hodgson has been a senior journalist in England and America. Until recently, he headed the Reuter Foundation Programme at Oxford University, UK.
Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago, USA.
Ashis Nandy is India's most controversial sociologist, and was director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, India.
Nabaneeta Dev Sen, former professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, is an eminent poet, fiction writer, playwright, essayist and academic. Her honours include the Padmashri (President's Award) and the Sahitya Akademi Award
Gloria Orenstein is Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
Jatin Das is one of India's leading contemporary painters. He works in New Delhi.
Gulzar is a celebrated filmmaker, poet and fiction writer, most widely loved for his stirring lyrics. He lives in Bombay.
• Gopi Gajwani, prominent abstract artist, is India's best-known caricaturist
Snail mail: A 708, Anandlok, Mayur Vihar - I, Delhi 110091, India.
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Finally, why is it called The Little Magazine, anyway?
In the late 20th century, the little magazine (as distinct from The Little Magazine) was a fixture in the cultural and political life of several nations, most notably the United States, the United Kingdom and India. In our part of the world, they were typically published, with less rather than more regularity, on the cheapest paper imaginable, on presses run by printer's devils, on tiny budgets which usually came out of someone's personal savings. Their editors, who had no particular publishing expertise, ran them on pure fire, for want of anything better. They wanted to change the world, you see. We chose our masthead in celebration of that fire, which is now dwindled to an ember. We'll be around. We hope you will be, too.